Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons
Cryptozoology. Yeah, baby. It's not a virus or the study of burial habits; it's the study of animals whose existence has not been proven. You know some these critters even if you aren't familiar with the word. Here's a brief quiz.
A. What creature shows up in Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer and is later rendered harmless by a dentist? (It's also featured on a super-awesome roller coaster called Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom.)
B. What creature lurks in the deep waters of a Scottish Lake?
C. What creature needs a serious trip to the barber shop and has trouble finding shoes in his size?
D. What creature has the bill of a duck, the tail of a beaver, and lays eggs?
Okay, we've got the Abominable Snowman (otherwise known as a Yeti), the Lock Ness Monster, Big Foot, and the duck-billed platypus. Oh, wait! That last one is real. Go figure. Now if these four were on an alien's multiple choice test of which earthbound creature actually exists, I would totally not guess D. Would you?
Let's make this a little tougher. Can you name these creatures?
Take a bunny, give it some horns, and you get:
Image: Museum of the Weird
This fellow is more joke than true cryptozoology, but there is a root of truth to the idea. According to The Cryptid Zoo, Shope papillomavirus can cause hornlike growth in rabbits, but not necessarily on the head and symmetry is definitely not guaranteed. (This guy also the subject of a darn cute Pixar short, Boundin'.)
How about the blood-thirsty "goat-sucker" of Puerto Rico that looks like a dog or coyote with a bad case of mange, vampire teeth, and some dragon wings tossed in for good measure? (It's also the name of a Walking Dead episode.)
Image source: reblog Frontview.Org
And finally, a creature from legends of the Algonquin Indians and other tribes of North America and Canada. It's associated with extreme cold and hunger, and it's a curse that befalls those who resort to cannibalism. (And it's mentioned in Stephen King's Pet Sematary.)
Image: Wikipedia Commons
Looks part deer, part bear, and part zombie, huh? Give up? The first is a jackalope, the second is the chupacabra, and the third is the Wendigo.